13 Fires: Justice

By 1JustCity Member
May 10, 2016

13 Fires is a social justice initiative, aimed at facilitating discussion and dialogue amongst people on 13 racism-related topics. Following the Local Racial Inclusion Summit in September 2015, 13 Fires was formed to continue conversations on racism, raise awareness and collaboration to bolster the good work that is already taking place in the community. Each month, there is a gathering that focuses on a different theme related to racism and justice. In April, the theme was justice, looking at policing and the justice system in Winnipeg and Manitoba.

For marginalized people and people of color, the police are often perceived negatively and are associated with violence, danger, harassment, and risk. Indigenous people are the most negatively affected by the justice system, a system that perpetuates colonial imbalances and disproportionally arrests and incarcerates indigenous peoples. First Nations peoples are incarcerated at 6-7 times the average rate, and in Manitoba, 60% of prisoners in provincial jails are First Nations, with the number being 70% for women. 13 Fires believes that there needs to be less militarization of the police and more emphasis on support, investigation, community relations and restorative justice.

Lenard Monkman spoke at the event about Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a process and takes time, the current problems in urban indigenous communities are the same as 50 or 100 years ago. This can’t be reconciled until hangs occurs. Children are still being taken away from their families, as they were decades ago to be sent to residential schools, but instead are being put into the child welfare system. With 90% of the children in the child welfare system being indigenous, this is yet another example of how the justice system continues to perpetuate colonial hierarchies and discriminate against indigenous peoples.

At 1JustCity we participate in reconciliation and the Call To Action for the TRC report in many ways and of those a first step is offering places for us all to belong and be ourselves.




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